Angela’s off to Oxford as community gets behind law student’s dream

Published in the May 2016 issue

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Angela Powditch, a Bachelor of Laws student, has been accepted to complete an International Human Rights Course at Oxford University, in the UK, in July/August 2016.

Southern Cross University law student Angela Powditch will be walking the hallowed halls of Oxford University come July after securing a place to study human rights law in the UK, thanks to the generosity of the community.

Angela is one of about 70 students from around the globe attending the prestigious and highly competitive four-week Oxford/George Washington International Human Rights Law Summer School.

“I know my goals have seemed ridiculous at times, but my motto is ‘why not have a big life?’” she said.

The second-year Bachelor of Laws student was over the moon to be accepted into the course but her next hurdle was finding $17,000 to cover the course fees.

“As a single mum studying fulltime, I don’t have access to a lot of money. I set up a Go Fund Me account where I was honest about my situation while explaining that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The community generously responded, so I’m on my way to Oxford. I’m immensely grateful to those people I don’t know personally who believed in my dream and were willing to support me,” said Angela.

“I’d also like to thank SCU International who helped organise a federal government OS HELP loan scheme (which I’ll have to repay), and SCU Alumni who came through with a scholarship on the day I had to confirm my enrolment.”

The SCU Associate Alumni Scholarship is an exceptional one-off scholarship presented to Angela for the purpose of attending the short course in international human rights law at Oxford University.

“Without the support of the Scholarship at the last minute, Angela would have been unable to cover course costs to attend,” said SCU Alumni and Development manager Dan Sloan.

“Angela is a motivated and high-achieving student with all the qualities of a standout lawyer, so much so that Alumni and Development believed it was important to support her.”

Angela is a member of SCULSS (SCU Law Student Society), earned the 2015 Far North Coast Law Society Scholarship, and recently completed a Telstra mentorship, where she was paired with Telstra legal counsel Virginia Galloway, through the University’s Career Development Service.

The former marketing manager said personal hardship was the catalyst for embarking on a career in law.

“I have found it sometimes takes a bad situation in your life for you to finally work out what you are meant to do. Mine was a marriage breakdown and my experience with the family law system,” said Angela.

“While the situation was very painful, it also made me realise how strong I was and that I absolutely had to practice law for two reasons. First, it would provide a secure career and income in a rural area. As a single parent with a three-year-old and a five-year-old, this is a real consideration. The second reason was the ability to help others through this career.”

The University’s School of Law and Justice has a strong interest in human rights law. Law alumnus Benedict Coyne went on to complete a Master of Studies (MSt) in International Human Rights Law (IHRL) at the University of Oxford. Benedict was recently appointed President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR).

“Benedict has been in touch with me and given me some insights into what to expect at Oxford University. I appreciate the advice and support he’s given,” Angela said.

“I‘ve had the worst few years of my life. I didn’t believe in karma but after what’s happened for me this is an amazing opportunity.

“I would encourage other students out there with difficult personal circumstances, family responsibilities or some other issue to keep going. Sometimes when things seem at their bleakest, life can change dramatically for the better.”

Angela is continuing to raise $5500 for travel and other expenses such as some food and incidentals. https://www.gofundme.com/3gvdfcvg

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